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Sandy Alderson “suspected” that Jose Canseco was juicing

Oct 30, 2010, 11:33 AM EDT

alderson at podium

The Mets introduced new general manager Sandy Alderson on Friday afternoon at New York’s Citi Field.  Lost in the shuffle of that impressive press conference was a question about Alderson’s involvement in the steroid era, and specifically former A’s outfielder Jose Canseco.

Alderson served as an executive in Oakland during the late 80s and early 90s, right around the time that Canseco admittedly began juicing.  Some in the national sports media believe that Alderson should apologize because the PED use took place under his watch.  He did not do that on Friday in his first meeting with the New York press, but he did answer the question openly and, well, honestly.  This from the New York Post.

“It’s hard to avoid it in light of Jose Canseco’s book,” Alderson said. “In a nutshell, I suspected Jose Canseco of doing steroids, but I never suspected Mark McGwire. It was a time as an organization we actually had begun to emphasize weight training as a part of a regimen that is now widespread, but at the time may have inadvertently gotten us involved with the steroid aspect.”
Alderson told reporters that he has discussed the issue with members of Congress and cooperated during the compiling of the Mitchell Report.  He also expressed regret about not taking a bigger stand toward stamping out the PED use, but noted that it would have been illegal in California to test the players at the time.  Testing also violated the collective bargaining agreement.  Case closed?
  1. sugarray1 - Oct 30, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    Sandy Alderson is the sleeziest scuzzball in baseball. Good luck to the Mets and their fans. What a bunch of crap he didn’t know about Jose and Mark. This man will lie and cheat in any way he can to promote himself. Actually, I hope he stays in NY for a long time, because he would do alot more damage to MLB if he stays n the league office, or worse yet, became the commissioner. Just ask Rickey Henderson what kind of character this jackal has.

    • willmose - Oct 30, 2010 at 2:20 PM

      Yes, indeed, Sandy is a sleezy scuzzball, just like Cashman and Steinbrenner of the Yankees. They knew all about A-Rod, Pettitte, Roger Clemens, etc. and not only did nothing, but paid huge amounts of money to them.

      Every team had players juicing. So that makes all the GMs, owners, managers, and fans scuzzballs for not burning them all at the stake.

      • JBerardi - Oct 30, 2010 at 2:53 PM


        Poutrage noted, guys.

  2. seeingwhatsticks - Oct 30, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Stunning that the juicing of those A’s teams (and later some Cards) has never stuck to LaRussa or Alderson. If you go back and look at those teams it’s hard to say that steroids weren’t institutionalized in Oakland in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

    • willmose - Oct 30, 2010 at 4:04 PM

      Steroids institutionalized by Oakland? I don’t understand? A-Rod played for Oakland? Bonds played for Oakland? Clements played for Oakland? Damn I missed those teams in Oakland and I was living in the Bay Area at the time.

      Canseco (speaking of sleezyt scuzzballs) was the first to admit using steroids that hardly institutionalizes them. Steroids have been used in MLB since the late 70s, bennies (true PEDs) were institutionalized by Casey Stengel’s Yankees in the early 50s. All those pennants the Yankees won in the 50s and early 60s were because of bennies. Even Jolting Joe used bennies to hang on.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Oct 30, 2010 at 4:21 PM

        It’s not just Canseco, or McGwire, there are a number of other players who you could probably build a case for juicing on the team. Of course there have been a number of players from a number of teams to get caught up in this deal, but a few teams seem to have, or had, more than a couple guys who played together at the same time get caught up in this. The reason I point to the A’s more than other teams is because they were the most successful team at the time and there are always copycats for whatever the top team is doing. To me those teams were the first to take widespread advantage of chemically enhanced performance and most of the people who came later used drugs because they saw the success of those teams. There were enough players on the Giants, Yankees, and Rangers to make a case that steroid use was institutionalized in all those places at different times, but they all came AFTER the success of those A’s teams. Had MLB been more proactive with the A’s back then we might have avoided the larger mess that steroids became. I think this thing should stain more than just the players who did it, it should also stain those who did nothing to stop it. Alderson can say he suspected it, but what did he do with his suspicions? The answer is nothing, at least not as long as the A’s were winning. It was only when Canseco started to decline that the A’s took action, and even then they merely traded him to Texas so that he became someone else’s problem. John Calipari should be tainted (and in my opinion banned permanently) for his vacated Final Fours, the same way college football coaches should be tainted by NCAA violations, the same way baseball executives, coaches, and reporters should be tainted by steroids for at the very least turning a blind eye. In the case of Alderson, LaRussa, and the A’s I find it impossible to believe they didn’t know what was going on or the extent of the problem, which Alderson all but admitted today.

      • willmose - Oct 30, 2010 at 6:28 PM

        Please tell me again how you know what players were using steroids when. I missed that. Bennies, the true PEDs, were institutionalized by Yankees in 50s and 60s. When other teams starting using them in the mid-60s the Yankees’ dynasty came to an end.

        Again, many MLB players were using steroids prior to the late 80s. How do I know? I have the same magic list you do of the players. Please don’t bring the NCAA into the debate. Everything the NCAA has done to screw the student-athletes since the early 50s makes whatever went on in MBL look good.

        As far as being proactive, the use of drugs in the work place is controlled by a labor agreement between the owners and union. What can a GM do on his own? Did Alderson and LaRussa advise ownership of the problem? My magic list says they did. Isn’t real problem the owners and union.

        Finally, if Alderson and LaRussa should have known, why shouldn’t all the other managers and GMs known. Are they equally guilty?

      • seeingwhatsticks - Oct 30, 2010 at 6:42 PM

        Steroids were always against the rules, even going back to the late 80’s when Fay Vincent first brought them up. I do think management for the other teams also bear some responsibility but I’ll put it this way. You’re taking a test that will determine how much you make for the rest of your life. Everyone you are taking the rest with is cheating. You stand almost no chance of doing well compared to your peers. You have the option to cheat as well What do you do? That’s why MLB needed to be much more proactive in the late 80’s so that management wasn’t put in a position to either discourage PED use or win and keep their jobs. Everyone was worried about their jobs, and that completely understandable myopic viewpoint is why there is supposed to be a commissioner in charge who can make sure the playing field is level.

        You’re right about the CBA governing what management and MLB can do, but remember we also had a strike in 94. So both sides were willing to end a season early and possibly throw away a season over financial dispute; why couldn’t Bud have done the same thing over PED testing? This is the integrity of the game we’re talking about but the league felt their short term finances were more important than the long term health and public perception of the game. From a PR standpoint, who do you think the general public would have supported if there was a labor stoppage over the league wanting to drug test players and the players refusing? If the league wanted it, they could have had it very very easily. They just wanted the money more and that should be a permanent indictment of Bud Selig’s tenure. Everyone made money off of PED use so no one really wanted to know the truth. My sense has always been that from players to coaches to ownership to reporters, everyone had a pretty good idea what was going on (some knew for a fact obviously) but they all bent over backwards to avoid the subject entirely.

        In my previous comments about the institutional use in Oakland I wasn’t suggesting that Tony LaRussa and Sandy Alderson went around handing out syringes. I do, however, think there were a lot of conversations with players about whether individual players were “doing everything they could do help the team win.”

      • willmose - Oct 30, 2010 at 7:18 PM

        I don’t think that steroids messed with the integrity of the game at all. Bennies and cocaine do. Why? Both drugs allow players to react quicker. As .05 second faster reaction turns a .250 hitter into .350 hitter. The increased HRs didn’t stop when they started testing for steroids, but when MLB started to humidity control the baseballs. If you want proof compare the HRs in Denver before and after MLB started “soaking” the baseballs.

  3. seeingwhatsticks - Oct 30, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    Cocaine could not possibly make you do anything athletic better, with the possible exception of doing more cocaine. You have 0 attention span on coke and baseball isn’t always a real fast game. Also, keep in mind that the bennies were not illegal, either in baseball or the US, at the time they were in wide use. Bennies have never been a great comparison for those who think the steroid era was no different from previous generations, and as I mentioned there’s no way coke would be beneficial to an athlete in any way.

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